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Late Montale

Late Montale

by Eugenio Montale, selected and translated from the Italian by George Bradley

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Late Montale is a generous selection of the poems that the Nobel laureate Eugenio Montale wrote in the last decade of his life, including many drawn from notebooks he entrusted to his housekeeper, which appear here in English for the first time. In new translations by the American poet George Bradley that carry over all the wit and lucidity of the originals, each poem takes on a fresh immediacy. Together, they form an ideal introduction for readers unfamiliar with these late works, and for readers who have long admired them, a sparkling reminder of their subtle art of disillusion and surprise.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Poets
ISBN: 9781681378374
Pages: 264
Publication Date:


With Late Montale the distinguished poet George Bradley has given us a Montale in English most of us hardly knew. In selecting and translating scores of poems from the four collections published in the last decade of Montale’s life, along with dozens of previously untranslated poems drawn from notebooks the Nobel laureate entrusted to his housekeeper, Bradley urges us to focus on the work the poet’s old age. These translations, printed with the meticulously edited Italian texts en face, are marvels of lucidity and subtle music in which precision is suffused with a rare tenderness of attention. The volume includes Bradley’s succinct but copious notes clarifying many of the allusions in the poems. And there are many masterpieces here, riches of meditation, at times caustic and satirical, at others grave and quizzical. For all its unavoidable melancholy, Montale’s late work pulses with life, and Bradley captures the underlying exuberance to perfection. Montale’s late poems are ‘direct and conversational, the work of an older man soaked in reflection and second thoughts,’ as Bradley notes in his elegant Foreword; but they are no less moving and indeed no less thrilling for that.
—Eric Ormsby

Montale once quipped that the early poems ‘were written in a tailcoat’ and the late poems ‘in pajamas,’ an image that goes a long way toward conveying the casual, relaxed mood of Late Montale. George Bradley’s versions feel as comfortable in their English as the originals do in their Italian, and his generous selection and discerning introduction and notes offer Anglophone readers their best chance yet to discover the many quiet pleasures of late Montale.
—Geoffrey Brock

With his gentle wit and rigorous precision, Mr. Bradley is the ideal medium for these poignant poems of Montale’s late maturity. He has done the anglophone reader a great service.
—Daniel Mark Epstein

George Bradley has found the perfect, acerbic tone for these late poems and drafts of Montale, some never seen before in English. In old age, Montale crafted an art of radical disillusionment, a world of smoke and ashes in which ‘the children of those children will have / nothing left to learn / nothing to lose.’ Bradley has importantly enlarged our understanding of this important and incorruptible poet.
—Rosanna Warren

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